To Jalacy Hawkins

You had the operatic crescendo
of Hell’s Freak Show barker,
a Big-Top Ringleader of
Rhythm-and-Blues
whom even the lions shrank from
in abject humility,
so bad was their stage-fright
after they heard your roars.
Your voice was a Carnival ride of
highs and lows,
a rollercoaster screaming
through the stars
and crooning deep under the
gurgling sea.
And the sound effects of the
guitar and drums
skirted timidly the
Looney Tunes zaniness
that should have been silly,
but was somehow masterful
in its dynamo-powered vociferations.
Cavorting on stage like
Vincent Price
in the throes of a
frenzy, you have not been
outdone
in your voodoo magic yet—
not one shock-jock-rock-crock
has had the
alligator chops or the
melodramatic gimmicks
to do what you could do
standing alone in front of the microphone
and embodying the manic mayhem
of human expression,
putting a spell on us all.

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